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Daily Mail adds Mouseprice to its stable

Wednesday 14th July 2010
Written by Rosalind Renshaw
The Daily Mail has bought the Land Registry consultancy firm Calnea Analytics, better known as its trading name of Mouseprice.

A beneficiary of the sale is Spicerhaart. Companies House records filed in July 2009 show Lucian Pollington – Spicerhaart’s legal eagle – as one of three directors.

The same records also show that an organisation called Felicity Investments held 220 out of the 1,000 total Ordinary Shares. Spicerhaart owns Felicity J. Lord. The other shareholders are Calnea directors Selwyn Lim and Jonathan Upton.

Calnea has been acting as official number cruncher to the Land Registry, producing its official monthly reports. It is understood that this work has recently been put out to tender.

As Mouseprice, Calnea also has its own portal, currently listing 550,000 properties. People can use it to see how much their own homes are worth, and can sign up to weekly email alerts telling about price movements in any particular area.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, means that Mouseprice will join property portals FindaProperty and Primelocation in the same ownership. The portal, however, does not seem to be the main attraction.

Calnea will instead become part of Landmark Information Group, one of the DMG’s Information Group businesses, and which specialises in digital mapping and environmental and planning reports.

It is easy to see the attraction for the Daily Mail, as it builds up its property portfolio.

Mouseprice, say experts, is a brilliant idea and resource but is under-used, under-funded and under-marketed.

The brainchild of Selwyn Lim, it was the first ‘nosey neighbour’ website where members of the public could look to see what their neighbours had bought or sold for.

While Calnea was majority owned by its founders, with Spicerhaart a minority shareholder, it is now owned by the Daily Mail Group outright, with the founders subject to a three-year earn-out. Like all previous DMG acquisitions, it will run as an independent business within the group. As such, it will continue to be based in its offices in London’s Docklands.

Calnea provides residential property information and advanced data modelling including AVMs, and web services to the Government, lenders, surveyors, estate agents and the general public.

However, last month, with embarrassing timing, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against Mouseprice after it sent an email to the complainant, saying they might be paying too much council tax as their property looked to be worth less than others in the same council tax bracket.

The complainant successfully challenged whether this claim could be substantiated.

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